Interesting Survey from Health Affairs About Personal Health Records

The February issue of Health Affairs has an interesting report about physician attitudes to personal health records. The authors, Matthew K. Wynia, Gretchen Williams Torres, and Josh Lemieux, based their conclusions on a survey of physicians done in 2008–2009. The abstract, available on the Health Affairs website, includes the following conclusion:

“64 percent have never used a patient’s electronic personal health record, 42 percent would be willing to try. Strikingly, rural physicians expressed much more willingness to use such records compared to urban or suburban physicians. Female physicians were significantly less willing to use these tools than their male peers (34 percent versus 46 percent). Physicians broadly have concerns about the impact on patients’ privacy, the accuracy of underlying data, their potential liability for tracking all of the information that might be entered into a personal health record, and the lack of payment to clinicians for using or reviewing these patient records.”

The authors go into significant detail about the differences between physicians using PHRs, those willing to use PHRs, and those unwilling or neutral about doing so. Among the issues identified were varying perceptions about whether PHRs would contribute to better quality care, improve physician/patient relationships, or save time.

If you are a user of a personal health record in your practice, please share your perspective. If you are not a PHR user, why not?

Some resources:
Guide for Medicare Beneficiaries on PHRs (from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
A video from AHRQ about PHRs (for patients)
A joint statement by American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) about PHRs
MyPHR — a site to educate patients about PHRs developed by AHIMA & AMIA that includes a nifty selector tool that patients can use

This post is the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the American College of Physicians (ACP). ACP does not endorse a specific EHR brand or product and ACP makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided herein.

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